HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Suzanne
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
Wolcott
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Mandy
Climax, The
Justice League Dark
Night Watchmen, The
Bandh Darwaza
   
 
Newest Articles
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
   
 
  Wonderful Life Get The Cameras RollingBuy this film here.
Year: 1964
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Cliff Richard, Walter Slezak, Susan Hampshire, Melvyn Hayes, Una Stubbs, Derek Bond, Joseph Cuby, Richard O'Sullivan, Gerald Harper, Bruce Welch, John Rostill, Brian Bennett, Hank Marvin
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Johnnie (Cliff Richard) and his friends have gone to sea on a cruise liner, where they work as waiters and musicians respectively. Tonight, after a long wait for a holidaymaker to stop drinking and go to bed, they pile into their cabin and prepare to rehearse their latest song, but Edward (Richard O'Sullivan), who fancies himself as the brains of the outfit, puts too many plugs into one socket and knocks out the electricity for the ship. As a reward for this, they are all chucked off and wind up drifting in a dinghy - until they sight land...

And that land was the Canary Islands, a suitably exotic location for those Brits watching back home in their local fleapit in this, one of a number of lighthearted musicals Cliff made in the sixties. The most celebrated of those was Summer Holiday, but the year after that megahit he and some of the stars of that reteamed for this less successful entry in the pop musical genre. Of course, when this was released there was a little item starring a certain Liverpudlian band called The Beatles out the same year, and even though their film had a fraction of Cliff's budget they were so fresh that Cliff was in danger of looking like yesterday's man.

Fortunately for him he found his niche as a family entertainer and housewife's favourite, but that did leave Wonderful Life (known as Swingers Paradise overseas, which must have disappointed a few) and its even more obscure follow-up Finders Keepers somewhat stranded in a pop culture environment that was seeing his variety style of rock 'n' roll largely consigned to television rather than the big screen. For Cliff, his TV show and the Eurovision Song Contest beckoned, which for some performers would be the end of the line but with him proved the beginning of a remarkable longevity that lasted well into the twenty-first century, with a British top ten hit in every decade from the fifties to the noughties.

But what of Wonderful Life? It's a silly little piece of fluff, yet has a pleasing innocence even if it is rather insubstantial. The plot sees our heroes end up getting a job on a film set for Otto Preminger-esque director Lloyd Davis (Walter Slezak, though why he has a Welsh name here is unmentioned), with Cliff as the double for the lead in a tale of a sheik's daughter and the legionnaire who loves her. She is an aspiring actress with the slightly unfortunate name of Jenny Taylor, played by Susan Hampshire and predictably she becomes the love interest for Johnnie as he falls for her when she is picked on by Davis for her perceived inadequacy. Johnnie has faith in her, so they conjure up a great idea.

Well, the idea looks more like they were running short of inspiration for plots and happened to be brainstorming when they said, "Hey, we're making a movie, right? Then let's make our next project all about shooting a Cliff musical!" Hence as Johnnie and company improbably create a secret parallel movie to Davis's would-be blockbuster without the director or Jenny realising. Heaven knows what it would look like as we don't really get to see it, but if you can set aside the hard to believe nature of the storyline then Wonderful Life is bright and sunny and easy to watch, though most of the songs are forgettable aside from the actual hits like the title tune and On the Beach. O'Sullivan and Melvin Hayes made for a neat double act, the Shadows are up for a laugh, Una Stubbs is there for dancing duties - it's all as you would expect with the bonus as a tribute to/lesson about the history of the movies acted out by the cast, which might illustrate how far their ambition was from their results, but as with the rest is nice enough. Music by Stanley Black.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1707 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: